What I Learned From the Military Diet (and Why I Wouldn't do it Again)

What I Learned From the Military Diet

If you follow me on Snapchat, you'll know that I tried my hand at the Military Diet a few weeks back, where I documented every last pitiful meal. And as with anything that promises the loss of up to 10 pounds in three days (red flag!), it got a lot of questions and interest from you guys, so I figured this would be a good place to recap and reflect... but first, here's a run-down of the diet if you've never heard of it before.

The Military Diet is a low-cal, three-day plan built around chemically-compatible foods designed to burn fat fast. The calories lessen with each passing day, and the food combinations are rather bleak (see below), but dinner always includes vanilla ice cream, so there's that at least... let's go ahead and call it a morale boost. Basically the Military Diet is designed to shed pounds fast, but if you're after long-term weight loss, you can practice a three-days-on, four-days-off approach to the diet (evidently it won't slow down your metabolism if you do it in this way, but talk to your doctor first). Finally, if you're vegetarian or vegan, the diet has been updated to include a list of food substitutions, so don't worry, you don't have to eat hot dogs if you don't want to (gag me). But in general, here's a breakdown of each day's meals:

Military Diet Meal Plan

Yup, bleak. There's no way around it— you're going to be hungry and generally dissatisfied if you give this one a try. Day one started with all kinds of promise, and I had no problem following the diet through til day two, but by day three I was ready to throw in the towel. I was hungry and all I could think about was food (not good), plus I couldn't have any dairy in my coffee which made life no longer worth living. Basically, I was miserable. I couldn't wait to be done, and to make matters worse, I was nowhere near losing 10 pounds when it was all said and done (I only lost about two pounds). So I resolved to never diet again, and instead headed to a new cafe with my girlfriends for pastries and some "nectar of the Gods," otherwise known as a latte. Classic Vickie. Now I should clarify that just because I didn't lose much weight myself doesn't mean that it can't work for you— my mom has intermittedly done this diet for years, and she would often lose eight to 10 pounds each time, so just keep in mind that everyone will have different results. I just think it's important to have a realistic view of the outcome before going into it to avoid dissappointment. But here's the thing— just because I didn't necessarily lose weight doesn't mean that nothing good came from my experience. I actually learned a couple things that were really helpful, and it wasn't just that dieting sucks (which it totally does by the way). Here goes:

After the holidays and entirely too many weeks of gorging on treats and heavy meals, it was a good reset having to measure out my food and restrict portion sizes. .. for that, I'm definitely grateful to the Military Diet.

Another good thing that came from this diet was rediscovering foods that I used to love but somehow forgot about over time. Things like peanut butter, cottage cheese, tuna and saltine crackers are now back in my life, which probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. Again, thanks Military Diet.

Finally, the greatest realization to come from this experience was that sweets and salt really do contribute to the appearance of cellulite. Because I had to greatly reduced the amount of sugar and sodium I consumed during this three-day process, I noticed that the appearance of my cellulite improved big time by the end of it. Now everytime I overindulge in either sweet or salty foods, I notice that my cellulite looks worse the next day, so this was a really powerful realization for me, especially as we move closer to summer (you're welcome, future Vickie).

Photo via Asos

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